Business operations for Asmodee (headquartered in Montreal), Days of Wonder, and Fantasy Flight Games will be consolidated at Fantasy Flight’s headquarters in Roseville, Minnesota, the companies announced today. Fantasy Flight CEO Christian Petersen will become the CEO of Asmodee North America. Fantasy Flight and Asmodee merged late last year (see “Fantasy Flight Games Merges with Asmodee”).
As a result of this change, Days of Wonder products will no longer be exclusively distributed by Alliance Game Distributors and Diamond Comic Distributors; instead they will be distributed by the full Asmodee roster. Days of Wonder has been exclusive with Alliance and Diamond since 2008 (see “Days of Wonder Goes Exclusive”). It was acquired by Asmodee last year (see “Asmodee Acquires Days of Wonder”).
This is the second game company this year to end an exclusive distribution relationship with Alliance; Cryptozoic ended its exclusive relationship in May (see “Cryptozoic Ends Exclusive Distribution on Games”).
The combined operations will reduce the number of U.S. distributors authorized to carry the company’s products. The new roster is ACD Distribution, Alliance Game Distributors, GTS Distribution, PHD Distribution, and Southern Hobby Supply. Eliminated from the Fantasy Flight distributor roster are Aladdin Distributors, E-Figures Miniatures Distribution, Golden Distribution, and Mad Al Distributors. In addition to selling through five distributors, Asmodee North America will also sell directly to retailers. Canadian distribution will be unaffected by the changes.
Changes in the distributor roster and in how products are sold will take place on January 1.
The consolidation is being done “to harness new resources and make investments in marketing and communications that will positively affect both the trade and game consumers,” the company said. “The first major improvement will be the launch of the new Asmodee Publishing website in early 2016.”
New sales policies for specialty retailers will take effect on April 1. Those policies will restrict sales by game stores to “consumer transactions through retailers’ physical retail locations” and at cons. Online sales and mail order will be prohibited with exceptions granted for online retailers that “contribute either significant scale, unique service, or other exceptional differentiation,” the company said. Those sales will take place under separate terms of sale from the Specialty Retail terms.
New CEO Christian Petersen explained the change in the companies’ online sales policy. “The marketplace has long been distorted by providing one-size-fits-all sales terms to every retail account, regardless of its channel of sale,” he said. “The growth in demand for games over the last decade, in our view, has been fueled not only by fantastic product, but by the support of specialty retailers who incubate personal connections between players, facilitate tournaments and leagues, provide instant product availability, and increasingly provide a ‘third place’ that is instrumental for so many gamers to enjoy and discover our products. The retailer cost of providing such channel services is significant, and so we’re now making policy changes to ensure that the sales terms provided to those retailers, relative to other channels, are positively reflective of the value they add to our distribution chain.”
The creative publishing units of Days of Wonder, Asmodee, and Fantasy Flight will remain separate from the Asmodee North America business unit.